MassDevelopment Transformative District Initiative Partners with Coalition of Civic and Cultural Organizations to Offer Artists’ Residencies in Hyannis


September 14, 2020 (Hyannis, MA) – A coalition of public, private, civic, and cultural organizations are partnering to offer three artist residencies as a way to strengthen the cultural vibrancy of downtown Hyannis. 


Funded by MassDevelopment’s Transformative District Initiative (TDI), the program will provide a $1,000 stipend for each artist who will spend four weeks developing a body of work that challenges existing narratives of life on Cape Cod. 


“Especially in Hyannis, the arts are a super important component of not only supporting the tourist industry, but the year-round economy,” said George Durante, TDI Senior Fellow at MassDevelopment. “With this particular project having a local artist get paid for their work is significant. It also helps to convey those stories and messages that will help to build up the identity of this community. Art is a great way to do that.” 


TDI is spearheading the cultural coalition that includes the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District (BID), the Town of Barnstable, The CapeBuilt Companies, The Design Initiative Inc, Architects, the Cordial Eye, and the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. 


“This is a great example of the power of collaboration in moving cultural initiatives forward that will create a real sense of place and build community through the lens of art,” said Julie Wake, Executive Director of the Arts Foundation. “When these residencies are complete, Hyannis will have three creative projects that serve to connect, inspire, engage, and spur dialogue about what this downtown village is and what it can be.” 


The artists chosen will have three available spaces in the downtown Hyannis area where they can conduct their residencies. All are within the Hyannis HyArts Cultural District and include 255 Main Street which was recently renovated by CapeBuilt; The Studio| East End, a space over 100 years old that once served as a train maintenance building; and Studio 50 @ Pearl l Hyannis HyArts Arts Campus.


Rob Brennan, President of CapeBuilt, expressed excitement at 255 Main being utilized as part of this cultural revitalization effort. The former home to the Hyannis Board of Trade in the early 1900s has been modernized and now features roughly 3,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and 10 new apartments on the second and third floors. “A big part of what we believe in is promoting a vibrant Main Street where folks are connected to their neighborhood and connected to one another,” Brennan said. “The arts are such a wonderful way to facilitate those connections and to bring people together to observe and appreciate the art that is being created which reflects the surrounding neighborhood. It’s a virtuous circle with art being created that is inspired by the neighborhood and residents frequenting that art, in turn, being inspired and deepening their sense of place.” 


Elizabeth Wurfbain, Executive Director of the BID, said the artist residencies will result in a critical component of downtown Hyannis. “It is really important to add vitality and excitement to the downtown and for us to improve it as a great place to live and work and shop and dine, but especially to live,” she said. “The arts add a lot of depth to a location for people who want to live in an area where they can have access to such rich cultural institutions.” 


Applicants interested in applying for a residency must live on Cape Cod and should provide a bio; an artist statement; 5-10 images of their work; and a statement of why they are interested in telling new narratives of life on Cape Cod. While the residencies are open to a wide variety of mediums, public art is encouraged. 


Applications should be submitted through an online application hosted by the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. The deadline to apply is Friday, October 9. The first residency is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 19, 2020, however time is flexible within a week if artist schedule requires. 


The residencies are tied to a pilot program that MassDevelopment launched last year through the Transformative District Initiative in the gateway cities of Hyannis, Brockton, and Attleboro. In Hyannis, Durante said, “we are designing some short- and long-term implementable aesthetic projects to break down the barriers between Main Street and the harbor to get people walking between those two places.” 


About the AFCC

The AFCC’s mission is to support, promote, and celebrate the arts and culture of Cape Cod. It fulfills its mission by funding grants, fellowships, and scholarships; by advocating for more awareness on the impact the Cape’s creative economy has on our region and beyond; and by building a strong arts community network through membership.